CNN’s Middle East senior editor Octavia Nasr, who, as reported here earlier this week, praised the late Hezbollah leader Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah on her Twitter account, has been fired.
She issued an apology on CNN.com:
Reaction to my tweet was immediate, overwhelming and a provides a good lesson on why 140 characters should not be used to comment on controversial or sensitive issues, especially those dealing with the Middle East.
It was an error of judgment for me to write such a simplistic comment and I’m sorry because it conveyed that I supported Fadlallah’s life’s work. That’s not the case at all.
It is no secret that Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah hated with a vengeance the United States government and Israel. He regularly praised the terror attacks that killed Israeli citizens. And as recently as 2008, he said the numbers of Jews killed in the Holocaust were wildly inflated.
But it was his commitment to Hezbollah’s original mission – resisting Israel’s occupation of Lebanon – that made him popular and respected among many Lebanese, not just people of his own sect.
Media watchdog Honest Reporting today cited an internal memo from a CNN vice president:
I had a conversation with Octavia this morning and I want to share with you that we have decided that she will be leaving the company. As you know, her tweet over the weekend created a wide reaction. As she has stated in her blog on CNN.com, she fully accepts that she should not have made such a simplistic comment without any context whatsoever. However, at this point, we believe that her credibility in her position as senior editor for Middle Eastern affairs has been compromised going forward.